Younger children suspended for drugs and alcohol

By March 4, 2012 Recent News

TVNZ 4 March 2012
A seven-year-old boy and an eight-year-old girl were among thousands of children expelled or suspended for bringing drugs and alcohol to school last year.

Secondary Principals Association president Patrick Walsh says offenders are getting younger and tougher penalties for parents are needed.

Last year 241 students were expelled for drug offences, and 2174 suspended – 298 of them 12 and under. In a 2010 case, a 12-year-old took a kilogram of cannabis to school to sell, reportedly for a family member.

“Nearly always they come from dysfunctional homes where substance abuse is rife,” Walsh said. “We take a light-handed approach but those parents need to be accountable.”

He was concerned at a trend towards younger students using drugs and violence, or sexually assaulting others. Schools could try to modify behaviour but much of that work was undone in the home.

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